Women’s hockey skates past Minnesota State

by Paul Markgraff

Not unlike an avalanche, the Gophers women’s hockey team buried Minnesota State, Mankato, under a mountain of offensive and defensive skill Tuesday night.
Minnesota trounced the Mavericks 7-1 at Mariucci Arena on Tuesday night in a game that took them to 10-3-0 (7-0-0 in WCHA) and one step closer to overtaking Minnesota-Duluth for first place in the WCHA-Women’s League.
The Gophers scored three goals in the first period and didn’t look back. Meanwhile, the Mavericks could do nothing but pester the Gophers on defense, holding onto their jerseys and hooking them around the waist.
Mavericks coach Todd Carroll said he deals with his second-year team’s growing pains on a day-by-day basis.
“Our team is improving; I just wish we had more to show for it,” said Carroll. “Our effort wasn’t nearly what it needs to be, though.”
He said his team didn’t do the little things they needed to do to win. But Carroll also felt some key parts to a winning team were missing from the Mavericks.
“It’s tough,” said Carroll. “We obviously don’t have the talent that they do. We don’t have the size and we don’t have the speed,” he finished with a chuckle.
The Gophers, on the other hand, were firing on all cylinders. Minnesota outshot Minnesota State 32-13, holding them to just three shots in the third period. The Gophers were hammering away on offense so hard, it looked like the were constantly on the power play. And when they actually were on the power play, they scored on two of the five scoring opportunities.
Junior defender Courtney Kennedy had five assists in the game, breaking the old school record of four.
“That’s pretty neat,” said Kennedy of her new school record.
The defense controlled the game in a big way, too. Minnesota killed all eight of their penalties without letting in a goal. Actually, the Gophers have killed their last 35 penalties without being scored on.
Gophers goaltenders Crystal Nicholas and Erica Killewald split time in the game and collected six saves each. Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said she wanted to give the goalies a little bit of playing time each before going on holiday.
“Not only were we trying to compete with Mankato tonight, we were trying to prepare for some other teams down the road,” Halldorson said.

Paul Markgraff covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]